The Herald launches search for top political performers in a memorable 12 months


THE Herald today launches the Scottish Politician of the Year Awards 2015, honouring those who have shaped a dramatic year in Scottish politics. This year’s awards will be dominated by the fall-out from the independence referendum and are sure to recognise the SNP’s stunning performance in the General Election, when the party won 56 of the Scotland’s 59 Westminster seats, mostly at the expense of Labour.

The 12 months since the last awards has also seen the Smith Agreement on further devolution, leading to the Scotland Bill that will deliver extensive new tax and welfare

powers for the Scottish Parliament. At Holyrood, the SNP has continued to dominate despite continuing questions about the NHS, the state of Scottish education and the performance of Police Scotland. MSPs, MPs, councillors and campaigners who have been at the heart of events will be recognised in The Herald Scottish Politician Awards. Now in their 17th year, they have become firmly established as a highlight of the political year. The awards are supported by RBS, ScottishPower Renewables, NVT Group, the Improvement Service, Thompsons Solicitors and Virgin Trains.

A panel of judges chaired by the editor of The Herald, Magnus Llewellin, will draw

up a shortlist at the end of this month. The winners in nine categories will be honoured at a ceremony at Edinburgh’s Prestonfield House Hotel on Thursday, November 19. Last year, Nicola Sturgeon was named Scottish Politician of the Year, taking the top award for the third time. She was honoured shortly after being sworn in as Scotland’s first woman First Minister. Alistair Darling, the former Chancellor who led the Better Together campaign to victory in last September’s independence referendum, was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Also last year, a special Judges’ Award was presented to Gordon Aikman, the motor-neurone disease

campaigner. As ever, The Herald welcomes nominations from the public for the Public Campaigner of the Year Award, won last year by the Coalition for Continuing Care, a group of charities that successfully lobbied the Scottish Government to amend legislation to extend support to young people leaving care. As in previous years, the best debaters, community champions, bloggers will also be honoured.

Welcoming the launch of this year’s awards, Stephen Park Brown, managing director

of NVT Group, said: “We are delighted to be able to support The Herald Scottish Politician of the Year Awards. “This is the fourth time we have sponsored the Donald

Dewar Debater of the Year category and we have seen the award presented to some very worthy winners. “We now look forward to hearing the nominees and finding out who might be following in their footsteps.” Keith Anderson, chief executive of ScottishPower Renewables, said: “The awards are one of the highlights of the Scottish political calendar. We are delighted to be again playing a role in recognising the achievements of all those nominated and I congratulate

The Herald for its continuous support of this event.” Graham Leech, group commercial director for Virgin Trains, said: “This is the second year we have sponsored the Best Scot a Westminster category and yet again we have experienced a year of significant political change, particularly in Scotland, proving the value of these important awards. “We look forward to seeing the judges’ selection for the most important contribution to political debate and look forward to meeting the candidates on the night.”

Malcolm Buchanan, managing director for the Royal Bank of Scotland’s corporate and commercial banking division in Scotland, said: “We are delighted to continue our relationship with The Herald Politics and Business Award. “This is our third year

supporting these awards and it is more vital than ever that politicians and businesses

work together to support the country’s economic growth. We are pleased to celebrate the efforts of those who have worked hard in this area. “RBS is focused on working closely with both the UK and Scottish governments on a range of initiatives and is committed to supporting communities and businesses throughout Scotland.” A spokesman for Improvement Service said: “We are delighted to be sponsoring the Local Politician of the Year category in recognition of the vital role local leadership plays in making local communities better and fairer.”

For more information on how to attend these awards please contact Claire Reid on 0141 302 7319 or visit: www.herald-events/politicianawards